At least 50 killed in Afghan mosque blast

At least 50 killed in Afghan mosque blast

More than 50 worshippers were killed after Friday prayers at a Kabul mosque, the latest of a series of attacks on civilian targets in Afghanistan during Ramadan.

According to Besmullah Habib, deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, the blast hit the Khalifa Sahib mosque in the west of the capital in the early afternoon.

The attack came after worshippers at a Sunni mosque gathered after Friday prayers for a congregation known as Zikr an act of remembrance practiced by some Muslims but seen as heretical by several Sunni groups.

Sayed Fazil Agha, head of the mosque, said someone they believed was a suicide bomber joined them in the ceremony and detonated explosives. He added that his nephews were among the dead, because black smoke rose and spread everywhere, and dead bodies were everywhere. I survived, but lost my beloved ones. Mohammad Sabir, a local resident, said he had seen people being loaded into ambulances. The blast was very loud. He said that my eardrums were cracked.

The emergency hospital in downtown Kabul said it was treating 21 patients wounded in the blast and two were dead on arrival. A nurse at another hospital, who didn't want to be identified, said it had received several people in a critical condition.

A health source said hospitals had taken at least 30 bodies in total.

In recent weeks, scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in attacks, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State IS. The latest attack came on the last Friday in the month of Ramadan, in which most Muslims fast, and before the religious holiday of Eid next week.

The Taliban rulers say they have secured the country since taking power in August and have largely eliminated IS's local offshoot. International officials and analysts say there is a risk of a militant resurgence.

Many of the attacks have targeted the Shia minority, but Sunni mosques have also been attacked.

At least nine people were killed on Thursday by bombs exploded on two passenger vans carrying Shia Muslims in the northern city of Mazar-e- Sharif.

A blast tore through a Sunni mosque during Friday prayers in the city of Kunduz killed 33.